A man has died and seven others are seriously ill after drinking homemade liquor contaminated by government anti-coca pesticide, reported Fox News Latino.
The victims fell ill 20 minutes after drinking chicha, a liquor fermented from bananas, during a social gathering on Sunday in an indigenous community in the southeastern Colombian jungle.
According to local indigenous leader Emilio Gutierrez, anti-coca pesticide sprayed by the government the previous week had drifted into banana crops used to make the chicha.
Last Wednesday, national police aircraft had sprayed nearby fields with the pesticide glyphosate, used to eradicate coca crops, the raw material for cocaine, said Gutierrez.
People living in La Reforma — an indigenous settlement in the jungles of Calamar, in the southwestern department of Guaviare — had started to complain that their crops were contaminated soon after.
Paramedics from Calamar travelled to La Reforma — located almost four hours away by boat — to take the ill to hospital. A further convoy arrived Monday to assess any other possible negative effects of the pesticide on the health of the settlement.
Many in Colombia oppose the aerial fumingation of coca with glyphosate, marketed in the US under the brand name RoundUp, due to its negative effects on human health and crops.